Have you ever met anyone who expects to live forever? Though they might not verbalize that expectation, the way some people live suggests they are unmoved by the unstoppable march of time, and unconcerned about the inevitability of the grave. Others obsess over death, and take extreme measures to prevent its arrival.
For Christians, both of those perspectives are invalid. God’s people must live with an eye toward eternity, understanding the brevity of this life (James 4:14) and the urgency of the work for which the Lord has set us apart.
At the same time, we must not succumb to the fear of death. We must not be willing to live and die as those who have no hope of heaven. As John MacArthur explains, despair about death is contrary to the Christian life.
To wish to avoid death is disloyalty to God. It is depreciation of the glories of heaven. It is insensitivity to the comparative worthlessness of earth’s vanities. To wish to avoid death is coldness of love to Christ. And to wish to avoid death is little weariness with sin.
That’s a quote from John’s exposition of 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, titled “Facing Death Confidently, Part 2.” In those verses, Paul compares the frailties of this life to the perfection that awaits, and points our focus to our eternal home. It’s a passage that ought to prompt every Christian to run his or her race with excellence (Hebrews 12:1), knowing the rich blessings that await us in heaven.
As John explains in his sermon, Christians must not be content to slump toward the finish line.
Faith always has its greatest work to do at the very last. The reality of faith is most clearly manifest in the face of death. Paul had the kind of faith that was strong in life and strong in death. He finished well. He died with patience. He died with hope. He died with joy. He died with eagerness. And he left behind a tremendous witness to the integrity of his faith and his confidence in the truth of God’s Word and the excellencies of God’s ways. God is honored when believers die triumphantly. He is honored when they are confident in the face of death, even cheerful. And certainly our last and best witness to the love and devotion we have to our Lord is how we die.
God’s people should approach the end of this temporal life with eagerness and anticipation. Such conviction is not merely the product of a fleeting emotional high. It’s only possible through a firm, settled confidence in our future home with the Lord. We should yearn for eternity—not out of some morbid desire, but as homesick children longing to be where our Father is.
If you want to cultivate such a godly longing for heaven, or if you simply want to further stimulate your heavenly affections, you don’t want to miss this message.
Click here to listen to “Facing Death Confidently, Part 2.”